Hong Kong

Posts filed under Hong Kong

‘未雪’被火車撞死的事

Filed in Current Affairs, General, Hong Kong, 中文文章

Not until today did I see the video recording of 'Mei Suet', the homeless dog hit by an MTR train this week. It was obvious to me, someone very experienced with dogs, that: (1) Mei Suet was good natured, (2) Mei Suet was very aware that her location on the tracks was extremely dangerous, and (3) the employee sent by the MTR to deal with Mei Suet knew absolutely nothing about dogs and was in fact afraid of dogs. The MTR simply didn't care. Since privatising and listing on the exchange, the MTR has become an insensitive, immoral company where service and infrastructure/equipment come a distant second in importance to profit.

我今天才看了未雪的片段。對很熟識狗狗的我來說,很清楚看到:(1)未雪是良性的,(2)未雪很明顯知道路軌那個地方是危險的,(3)公司派來那個職員明顯什麼狗狗的事都不明白,甚至怕狗。MTR根本沒有心去好好地處理未雪的事。從私人化上市開始,MTR公司已變成一間沒有什麼人性的、沒有什麼道德的、服務和設備是次要的、錢是最重要的公司。唉!btw,致電SPCA或漁農處不會是好辦法。未雪大多數一樣會死。致電別的慈善機構比較可靠得多。

蘋果日報:唐狗「未雪」被撞死 全城憤怒 控制中心草菅狗命「1分鐘內處理好佢」

Corruption; A Fact of Life

Filed in Current Affairs, General, Hong KongTags: , ,

From an article in The New York Times comes these two paragraphs:

For decades, corruption was accepted in Southern Europe as a fact of life, a way to distribute the spoils, and few people — including, in many cases, prosecutors — gave it a second thought. But the grinding economic crisis, which stalled projects and ended the flow of cash, has helped lift the veil on corrupt officials, exposing graft, bribery, payoffs, secret favors and other misdeeds on a scale that few imagined.

At a time when Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal are imposing deficit-cutting austerity plans on their hard-pressed citizens, these revelations of widespread political corruption are stoking bitter resentment, destabilizing governments and undermining the credibility of the political class as a whole.

The first paragraph is interesting in that it reaffirms that corruption is commonplace in many countries throughout the world. I would go as far as to suggest that wherever there is a government, there is corruption, although we should remember that corruption doesn't necessarily involve the government.

"a fact of life" is pretty much the way corruption is considered in China as well; which is why Hollywood film companies buying their way into China are concerned about the Anti-Trust investigations currently underway in the U.S.A., but if Walmart can 'resolve' its anti-trust problems (related to transactions in Mexico and China), then the Hollywood companies can probably too.

The second paragraph highlights something else I've been considering lately. Corruption has allowed the gap between the rich and the poor to expand at an ever increasing speed. Corruption has allowed greedy selfish corporations (including many here in Hong Kong) to oppress their work force in return for higher profits that usually only benefit the rich. The strike currently being undertaken by the freight pier workers here in Hong Kong is extremely important in that their situation of working long hard hours without work considerations that shouldn't need to be fought for, and without any pay raises in the last 15 years, reflects the situations of many many working people here in Hong Kong.

When SARS hit Hong Kong, the government asked the people to be patient and work hard together to resuscitate the economy. What the government didn't tell the people was that even when the economy had recovered, pay raises and better working considerations would not recommence. Greedy corporations took advantage of the fear of not getting work, and the low levels of pay, to enslave the workers of Hong Kong.

The result is that there are now huge gaps in the standards of living between the average Hong Kong citizen and the rich. If the average citizen was living a comfortable and happy life, this wouldn't matter, but the average citizen is now working much harder for much less than is fair or healthy.

With so much pressure and unhappiness, and no apparent hope for a better future, any exposure of corruption and the riches obtained as a result will cause ripples through society. If the government and their greedy cohorts are not careful, civil uprisings will come.

Even China's government with its micro-management of its people, the media and social networks is getting nervous, and rightfully so. It will be interesting to see if a handful of public exposures and indictments against corrupt officials will be enough to calm the general population which is becoming more and more aware of the greedy selfish acts of their leaders.

But again, as the article points out, this type of corruption is not limited to China. It exists in possibly every country of the world (and absolutely in every country where its sovereign right to print and issue money has been ceded to a private entity, including the U.S.A., and every member of the European Union).

Too much to say on this topic. I'll leave the rest till a later time.

Car accident near Sai Kung

Filed in General, Hong Kong

On my way home this morning, traffic was stopped for 45 mins. There was a serious car accident. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured.

Car Accident at Sai Kung

Car Accident at Sai Kung

RTHK1 and Hacking in New York

Filed in Current Affairs, General, Hong Kong, Uncategorized

A news item this morning on RTHK1 caught my attention. They revealed that a newspaper company in the U.S.A. had been hacked. What was curious about the item was that they didn't refer to the company by name.

The New York Times was hacked for a period of roughly 4 months, from September last year, just a few days before they published their first exposé of the wealth of Chinese Premier Wen Jia Bao's family. The Chinese government prefers to keep the wealth of its members a secret and vigorously disputed the article, going as far as to block access to The New York Times website from China. A cyber-security consultant firm hired by The New York Times investigated and monitored the hacking activity, and after comparing the patterns, methods and timing of the activity to other investigations in their database concluded that the hackers were based in Beijing.

You can read about the hacking and the investigation here:
Hackers in China Attacked The Times for Last 4 Months.

Again, I found it curious that RTHK1 didn't mention The New York Times by name. Commercially, it doesn't make sense to omit the name. The New York Times is not a competitor to RTHK. That leaves politics. I doubt that the Hong Kong government would direct the radio station to omit the name, so I can only surmise that RTHK made an internal-monitoring "politically correct" decision to omit the name, possibly to prevent curious listeners surfing over to The New York Times and reading the whole story.

Another matter related to The New York Times' Premier Wen Jia Bao article: Does anyone else think it curious that less than 4 months after The New York Times published its Premier Wen Jia Bao article, that the Hong Kong government surreptitiously passed a law preventing the public from accurately identifying or searching corporate directors and shareholders by their full name and ID? The relationship of these two events? The reporter who investigated and wrote the article obtained all of his data from public records by tracing the directors/shareholders through multiple levels of companies. Again, whenever RTHK has discussed the new law, no one has brought up The New York Times' story. The new law allows a new kind of corruption to go unchecked, but nobody's talking about it.

Makes you think...

成龍為自己利益出賣自己人成功入到中國全國政協。恭喜恭喜。

Jackie Chan Calls for Curbs on Political Freedom in Hong Kong

Racism in Hong Kong

Filed in General, Hong KongTags:

Racism to me is one of the worst evils. It's the precursor of distrust, hatred, genocide, war and many other wrongs.

Racism has been a part of Hong Kong for a long time. High-paid British and American expats looking down on the local Hong Kong Chinese was an accepted part of life in Hong Kong for many years. Only when Hong Kong was returned to China, and when the expats saw their salaries come down while the local Chinese executive salaries went up did some of that racism go away.

Many Hong Kong people that I know will say that Hong Kong people are very fair to non-Chinese races, that racism is a non-issue. To an outsider, and especially to caucasians who are usually treated with respect, that would probably appear to be a fair statement. It is not. Racism among Hong Kong people is unfortunately quite common, and usually targets races and populations who don't make as much money as the local Hong Kong Chinese, or whose home countries rank lower than Hong Kong from a civilisation point of view. Darker races are especially looked down upon. Before 喬寶寶's rise to celebrity status, the only Indians respected in Hong Kong were the hotel owners, even though much of the local Indian population grew up in Hong Kong and are fluent in three or more languages including Cantonese while most local Chinese are only fluent in one language. (喬寶寶 is extremely intelligent, and is fluent in English, Cantonese, Mandarin and Punjabi.)

Philippinos and Indonesians are also the targets of local racism. As domestic helpers, they work very hard for very little money, and more than a few local Chinese feel that they have the right to treat them like slaves (typically because everyone else does it), working up to 18 hours or more a day. In some cases, the helper is illegally denied their right to take a holiday each week. In some cases, the helpers are even physically abused.

Don't misunderstand me. Hong Kong is certainly not the only country with this problem. Racism is a problem the world over. My point is that Hong Kong is not as non-racist as some people think it is.

Racism presents itself in different forms. Not physically abusing a helper does not necessarily mean that you're not racist. If you make the assumption that all Philippino and Indonesian helpers steal, then you're racist. If you make the assumption that none of a specific race of people can be trusted, that they'll all take advantage of you when you turn your back, that they'll all lie to your face without flinching, then you're racist. If you make the assumption that all people of a specific race are dirty, unsanitary or fowl smelling, then you're racist. If you're disgusted by the gatherings of Philipinos and Indonesians in gardens and public areas throughout Hong Kong on their one day off each week but welcome the sight of Chinese or caucasian gatherings in the parks, then you're probably racist.

I absolutely despise racism, especially when it adversely affects the innocent. And if I discover racism in any of my close friends or relatives, then I am extremely disappointed and saddened.

Mahjong: Lots of fun

Filed in General, Hong KongTags:

The Mahjong competition was fun. I didn't get far, but the event was well planned, the rules were great to play, and the people; competitors and crew; were great.

_alt_

I didn't make the second round of the competition. I carelessly provided the winning tiles for a few games, even when I knew that those tiles might very well be the winning tiles. I won't do that next time. Yes, next time. If I'm free, I'll go back next year although I'm quite sure the competition will be even harder.

The interesting thing about this competition is that it was designed to allow as many people as possible internationally to learn and enjoy the game. To that end, the organisers found a mahjong guru and they designed a set of rules that was the middle ground between Cantonese mahjong which is too minimal and restrictive for an international game, and Taiwanese Mahjong which is way too complicated for all but the fully dedicated players. The rules are available from the organiser's web site. I'm sure a lot of you will find the various sets very interesting.

The competition will be much harder next year because several online mahjong sites in at least three languages including English, Chinese and Japanese have licensed the rules from the organisers and will be launched within the coming months. People all over the world will be able to learn and practice the World Series rules online. It'll make a big difference to the game.

By the way, I learned to play mahjong a lifetime ago in a game centre in China Town, Sydney, Australia ;-)

I can't wait to play again next year.